normal.
He angrily stopped the crazy students while constantly turning his head back and waving his arms at Ye Zun, motioning him to move back.

【 It’s really scary here, will you jump down to escape with me? 】

Ye Zun turned his head sharply.
In the dim room on the sixth floor where all the lights were off, a person stood in the middle of the stage, watching him.
There was a faint smile on those pale lips, weak and quiet.

——Yes, it is his ‘self’ in white pants and a black shirt from the nightmare.

The world suddenly went dead and still, as if he was being pulled back into that nightmare full of cherry blossoms and corpses in this very moment.

Countless grey and white figures walked out of the mirrors behind “Ye Zun” in the middle of the stage.
Their bare feet showed traces of being shackled, with their ankles festering.
One by one, they walked towards and around him, then jumped down from the high platform behind him without hesitation.

Thud! Thud thud!

One, two, three, four…so many.

With the feeling that his heart was suddenly being beaten, Ye Zun sat there on his knees, unable to move, body frozen by the chill.
He couldn’t even twitch his eyes.

Even if he didn’t turn his head back, he seemed to have already seen the corpses piled up like a mountain on the ground, as well as the audience applauding and cheering at this terrifying scene.

The other “Ye Zun” was still standing on the dim stage, looking at him weakly and quietly.【 My dear, if you can’t save me, just kill me, or, let me kill you. 】

The other person didn’t make a sound, but it was as if the voice appeared directly in Ye Zun’s mind, or even, like it was flatly spoken from Ye Zun’s own mouth.

He blinked his eyes.
His vision darkened, then became hazy, before gradually clearing up.
There was nothing in front of his eyes, just like experiencing hallucinations from low blood sugar.

There was only Shen Yuan in front of him, wearing a slight frown and extending a hand out to him.
“Are you okay? Be careful, grab my hand and come here first ba.”

Ye Zun didn’t move.
He wasn’t sure if the Shen Yuan in front of his eyes was real.
He endured the dizziness and slowly lowered his head, looking at the platform sloping downwards under his feet.

For the protruding stage, not only was the floor particularly smooth, but the surface was obviously sloping down, like a trap placed there with malicious intent.

He grabbed the railing, looking back at the audience on the ground.

The black crowd cheered, all with blurred features.
Thousands of people formed one face.

But he still saw it.
There were countless ghosts in the crowd with pale faces and thick threads like centipedes stitched into their skins.

The same as what he saw with the second year’s Class 1.

More and more, more and more… He trembled in fear.

……


Soon, the school’s principal and other teachers came up after they heard of this incident.

“The sixth floor was originally closed and only opened during special performances.
Why were there students coming up here?”

“Right ah, how could we have known she had the key.
No matter how we go about this, it’s her own responsibility ba.”

“In any case, it’s impossible for her to just fall like this.
Was it some kind of mental illness?”

“Many people downstairs said that she wouldn’t have fallen over originally.
She jumped for such a long time, and it seemed that someone pushed her in the end.”

“This student, what’s the matter with you.
Kaoru Nogawa, is that right? Why are you here…” 

The substitute teacher said angrily, “I was the one who had him to go up.
Kaoru Nogawa, what were you doing near the end? When she fell, what were you standing around in a daze for? Why didn’t you grab her?”

Ye Zun stood there, looking at the unfamiliar stage and the edge of the unfamiliar balcony, where it was now flat and ordinary, without the slope he had seen before.

He faintly in a trance.
“I saw two dancing girls, and I grabbed onto one of them…”

“What nonsense are you talking about? Everyone was watching, there was only one person, one!”

Ye Zun looked at the cherry blossom hairclip in his hand.
“That girl, how is she?”

“She’s already been sent to the hospital.
We need to wait for the hospital’s update.
But, this is the sixth floor, so what do you think?”

Those people were still talking but Ye Zun’s ears only heard a buzzing noise.
The surrounding voices were getting further away, and his consciousness was gradually becoming unclear.

He looked at them, vaguely feeling that those black lines were appearing on these people’s skin.

Although their faces wore heavy frowns, he felt that these people were coldly holding back their snickering.
It overlapped with the cheering audience who had blurred faces in the open area below.

——Did the ghosts from second year’s Class 1 start to spread out of control? Have they infected the whole school?

——Why did I see two girls dancing? Who is the other one? Was she the one who tempted the girl with the cherry blossom hairclip to jump off the building?

He lowered his head to inspect the pink cherry blossom hairclip, but what appeared before him was the scene of the two of them saying goodbye in front of the teaching building after the girl returned the diary back to him.

She smiled brightly, but there was a slight hesitance to speak in her eyes when she looked at him.
“Kaoru, I really…didn’t read the diary.”

So, did you actually read it?

It was the diary that attracted the ghost who killed her.

The diary, what exactly was written in it?

“Where are you going? As a witness, you have to wait for the police to record your statement ah.”

“Although we say it’s an accident, it’s very likely that he just pushed her down ba…”

Ye Zun ignored those people, walking towards the corridor expressionlessly as if he had lost his soul.

When he walked out of the sixth floor, he saw Shen Yuan who was waiting outside.
Shen Yuan’s eyes narrowed slightly.
His expression was calm, but showing a faint concern.
“You alright?”

“En.” Ye Zun was absentminded and walked past him, heading downstairs.

He left the diary in the classroom.
He must go back and retrieve it immediately.
He must not let others see it ever again.

……

In the classroom, Ye Zun quickly glanced over and saw the priest standing at his desk.

Ye Zun returned to his senses and immediately stepped forward to snatch the diary from the priest’s hand.
“You can’t!”

Lin raised his eyes and looked at him quietly, the corners of his lips lifting up slightly, bringing out a little comfort.
“You don’t look very well.
Would you like to come to office with me and sit for a while?”

Sitting in the priest’s office, in the same seat as last time.

Ye Zun lowered his head slightly with no expression on his face, calmly looking at the cherry blossom hairclip in his hand.

“This is the situation.
There is something wrong with this diary.
She probably read the contents of the diary and the ghost lured her to jump off the building.”


Like last time, Lin handed him a cup of hot coffee to warm his hands and leaned against the desk, watching him.
“Are you sure it’s because of the diary?”

“I saw two girls at the site, but everyone else saw only one.
Not only that, but I also saw another one of ‘myself’ and it said said to me, ‘It’s really scary here, will you jump down to escape with me?'”

Just recounting the scene at that time, a chill seeped from the cracks in his bones.
No matter how calm he was, he couldn’t restrain his trembling instinct on a physical level.

Did the ghost say the same thing to that girl?

Lin’s eyes were clear and mellow.
“Give me the diary ba, I will look at what is written in it.”

Ye Zun raised his head and leveled the priest with a calm look, shaking his head.
“You can’t.
I really want to know what is written in this diary, but I dare not let Father read it.
I am afraid that Father will die.
Father must not have an accident.” 

He was obviously frightened, with his face as pale as his lips, but he only showed a very exhausted calmness, saying his worries to himself in such a serious manner.

Lin’s face revealed an inconspicuous softness and crystal clear eyes were quiet and still.
“Don’t worry, I won’t die.
You have forgotten, this is the work of the church.”

He slowly approached and picked up the diary Ye Zun placed on his own lap, but the other end of the diary was pinched by Ye Zun.
The other’s strength was stronger than he thought, and even if he tried to apply more force, he still couldn’t take back the diary smoothly.

But Ye Zun just looked at him quietly and meekly, his expression lacking any stubbornness and toughness.
He just blinked his eyes calmly.
“You really can’t.”

——That kind of indescribable and unspeakable feeling.
The nightmares I had are real, and they are beginning to invade reality.
No matter how I put it, it sounds like gibberish spawned from fear, but this is real.

Ye Zun was not really afraid.
He just knew and was certain that there was definitely something wrong with the diary, hiding the source of terror in Pandora’s jar.

Lin lowered his eyes and looked down at him.
With undisturbed brows and gentle eyes, his other hand gently touched his head.
“Are you worried? Then, let’s read it together ba.
Just like what you always say, I will face your fears with you.

Ye Zun’s eyebrows drooped lightly.
The jut on his throat rolled, and the fingers holding onto the diary were pinching so hard that they turned white.

Lin’s voice became more and more like a soft whisper.
“I am a person of the church.
The demon god’s game is not aimed at me.
The only one in danger is you, the invited player.
Now that you know, do you want to read it together?”

This time, Ye Zun nodded.
“En, I want to read it.”

He raised his head to look at Lin again, his brown eyes serene.
“Father, I’m not really afraid of ghosts myself.
I’m just afraid of the feeling I have when I don’t not know what I am afraid of.”

This instance was different from the previous novice trial.
He had never faced an attack by a ghost, but that dark, wet and pervasive shadow of his nightmares was approaching him, eroding little by little, gradually dissolving the boundary between dreams and reality, as if to drown and suffocate him unconsciously.

It wasn’t a real danger, but it was everywhere, choking and oppressing step by step, trying to squeeze his throat, creating a chill from the gradual inability to breath.

Even if he was struggling, he didn’t know where this invisible force came from.

He began to somewhat understand the play written in Nogawa Kaoru’s diary, that kind of absurd, trance-like wasteland in a world with no borders, where reality and dreams have been fused.

If he didn’t know Lin, if Lin wasn’t by his side in this world to let him escape from everything for a brief moment, if he was all alone here, perhaps he would’ve long been polluted by fear and crumbled apart without knowing.

That deep, slow voice murmured, “It’s okay, there is still me.
I am by your side, I am always here.”

Ye Zun lighty closed his eyes.

——I am starting to understand now why some people lose themselves in false faith.

——Because just existing there, is incredible.
I feel as if I have already found salvation through this warmth.

The author has something to say:

The flower from heaven that accidentally bloomed under the Abyss, cannot survive alone.
It would either wither or very quickly mutate.
But because there is a Mr.
Snake who accompanies it, it will stay open for a long, long time.

·

The first instance I painted, the picture is a dense and dark night, too depressing and grey.

But because there were the appearances of the priest and the dangerous and unpredictable Shen Yuan, a ray of light began to pour though, as if there is a golden sunflower field blooming along their path in this nocturnal wasteland.

He is indeed always by Ye Zun’s side.

Because there was too much interaction with Lin, it diluted the tense horror atmosphere of the instance and slowed down the rhythm of the story (in order to allow them time to interact, I deliberately chose a slow start of the instance in the early stage), but there is also a ray of hope left in the darkness.

The first meeting is very important.
Many feelings need to be fermented and transformed at the time of the first encounter.

Hopefully, when I’m finished and look back, I will feel that these abandoned parts are not mistakes, as I do now.

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